Running

I'm not sure if I ran again after my last recorded run before a disk crash lost me any local changes I had to this web-site; and a general lack of enthusiasm lead to me neither running any more nor trying to revise the recovered page with any memory I might have had of runs since June. Then winter came, discouraging me even further from (among other things) running.

Spring, however, sees Holmenkollstafetten looming not so far in the future; which, together with my weight creeping back above 100 kg, nudged me into taking another run, on Saturday March 25th, the eve of DST. I made it up to Gulhaug bro and back (c. 4 km) in a little under 31 minutes; which is, at least, no worse than last year's times for the same run.

A week and a day later, the fifteenth anniversary of my move to Oslo, I ran all the way up to Kjelsås (specifically, the pedestrian-controlled lights where the path on the east side of Akerselva crosses Kjelsåsveien, just beside where Solligrenda turns off). That's 4.3km from home by the route GraphHopper picks (which ascends 150m and descends 61m; Mapzen choses roughly the same route but says nothing about ascent and descent), but that's not the route I followed, along the river. Piecing that together from fragments where GraphHopper doesn't chose a different route as shorter, my outward journey was 4.43 km with 128 metres of ascent and 41 of descent; slightly longer than GraphHopper's, but with less up and down. In any case, this means I've now actually run more than 8km (almost 9km, in fact; fairly accurately five and a half miles) for the first time in a quarter century. It took me 66 minutes – rather long compared to the 40 minutes I used to take for granted on roughly 5 mile (8 km) runs in my youth (or, indeed, the one time I walked 10km in an hour and half a minute) – but I'm not complaining. I made it there and back – and my runs as a youth, mostly in and near Cambridge, didn't have anywhere near 170m of ascent and descent involved (they might have had one or two metres, at most).

Another week rolls round: on Palm Sunday, I managed to run all the way to Maridalsvannet. That took 37 minuts (by the watch of someone I asked while there, compared to mine for end-time and back-calculated) and left me tired enough that I walked much of the return journey, taking 45 minutes. I slightly varied my route to (4.3 km, 139 m up, 54 m down) and from (4.4 km, 41 m up, 128 m down) last time's crossing at Kjelsås; and took a loop up to Maridalsvannet, up one side of Akerselva, down the other (1.8 km, 30 m each up and down). Total distance 10.5 km, with about 210 metres each of ascent and descent. Slightly faster, on average, than the previous; in the intervening week, I'd gone for a run from work to the Kejlsås crossing with two colleagues, who encouraged me to take deeper breaths; which helped, as did paying attention to my stride-length (opening up from a jog to a run when I could find the strength). Minor personal triumph.

On Good Friday, I set off on a run and discovered it was rather cold; between 5 and 6 °C, with stray snow-flakes falling. Still, I ran up to Gulhaug bro and back (4km, 66 m up and down) in 26 minutes (GraphHopper thinks it should take almost twice that to walk). I also measured the overhead of my going up and down stairs (not taken into account by the maps, but part of all my timings, adding something like 10m to the ascent and descent); a minute and a half. So I averaged 10 km/hr on that run; it'll do. Easter Monday was a little warmer (between 7 and 8 °C); I ran a little further (300m, with 14m up and 3m down, on the way out), to the foot-bridge at the northern extreme of Bruksveien, for a total (there and back) of 4.7 km with 83 metres of up and down, in 30 minutes (and 19 seconds, including my stairs; so 28:50ish without; contrast with GraphHopper's estimated walking time of 56 minutes). Slower than Friday (by about a quarters km/hr, on average) but I went further.

Two weeks later, on May Day, I ran once more to Maridalsvannet, taking an hour and a quarter, plus most of a minute; 10.66 km (with 204m up and down), averaging a bit under 8.5 km/hr. Not quick, but there and back is good enough for me; I was jogging (rather than running) by the end, but at least I didn't need to quit running and walk home this time. The following Saturday, with one week to go until my 1.3ish km stage of a relay, I tried a flat-out run (i.e. no jogging) for as far as I could sustain it, then (downhill mostly) home again; that took me 1446 m with 24 m of up and down, in 7 minutes and 40 seconds, averaging a little over 11 km/hr. Not brilliant, but it did leave me sweaty. Once I'd recovered my breath, I repeated that run (jogging a little this time) in 8 minutes; 10.85 km/hr, slightly down, but I'm still satisfied.

My colleagues and I (team 5901) completed the Holmenkollstafeten in 1:18 on May 13th. I took a break from running after that, until June 10th, when I ran up to Maridalsvannet again; on the way back, I walked large chunks of the way, completing the trip in roughly 10km trip in 1:23. After another break, on July 8th, I ran up to the first bridge above the dam at the top of Nydalen, then back as far as the bridge at the Northen extreme of Bruksveien (4.21 km, up 119m, down 72m), after which I walked home (the sun had come out), in a total of 52 minutes (6.55 km, 133m up and down; 7.6 km/hr). A week later (after stripping 80 years of coverings off a wall in my bedroom, which left some dust in my lungs) I managed a similar run, with rather less walking, taking 46:30. On the last Sunday of July (30th), I ran as far as the Kjelsås road-crossing and most of the way home (walking the rest) in an hour and four minutes (8.9 km, 172m up and down; 8.3 km/hr), taking some gentle comfort in seeing some young fellows of roughly my stature (but looking healthier) going at similar speeds, one of whom I overtook.

Six weeks later (September 9th) I ventured forth again and made it, at a steady jog, as far as Maridalsvannet and (with a few brief patches of walking) home again in light rain, taking 80 minutes. On the last day of September, I managed the same 10km in 77 minutes, with only one walking interval, crossing the bridge across the dam at Maridslsvannet while enjoying a mouthful of water. The next Sunday, October 8th, in sunshine, I ran the same in 76 minutes. On the 22nd, I managed the same run in just 70 minutes; and, this time, I was actually running nearly the whole way, rather than mostly jogging – running actually feels nice, unlike jogging, and is kinder to my knees.


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